The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  59,536 ratings  ·  1,059 reviews
Meteorologists called the storm that hit North America's eastern seaboard in October 1991 a "perfect storm" because of the rare combination of factors that created it. For everyone else, it was perfect hell. In The Perfect Storm, author Sebastian Junger conjures for the reader the meteorological conditions that created the "storm of the century" and the impact the storm ha...more
Published (first published January 1st 1997)
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"There was no God to turn to for mercy. There was no government to provide order. Civilization was ancient history... Inside the ship, as the heel increased, even the most primitive social organization, the human chain, crumbled apart. Love only slowed people down. A pitiless clock was running. The ocean was completely in control..."
-- William Langewiesche, A Sea Story

On October 28, 1991, the fishing vessel Andrea Gail and her crew of six men disappeared off the Grand Banks in a tremendous stor...more
Jr Bacdayan
"All collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it had five thousand years ago." - Moby Dick.

I have a special bond with this story. My first encounter with "The Perfect Storm" was through watching the movie. I still remember that movie clearly on my mind even though I haven't watched it for a few years now. It's even easily in my top-ten favorite movies of all time list. I simply loved it. As a child I had always been terrified of the ocean and all its dangers. Strangely though, I...more
I thought this would be a pretty interesting book - I had vaguely heard the story when the movie came out, although I haven't seen the movie.

The Perfect Storm is a great name for the book, as the book revolved around the storm that took out the Andrea Gail. It gave a lot of good information about fishing, but overall I wasn't impressed by the book, especially when it concerns the Andrea Gail. The synopsis on the back of the book annoyed me, because I thought the book was going to be entirely abo...more
Since the Mayflower, my relatives were fisherman around Gloucester, making this book a fascinating read for me. I remember my great grandfather talking about cod fishing on the Grand Banks and the storms that sank friends' boats. Not long after I read the book, I was staying in a bed and breakfast in the small town of Scituate down the Massachusettes coast, and the movie was playing in a tiny theater across the street, so I went. When I came out, it was pitch black and a huge thunderstorm had co...more
I was motivated to read this book after I fell in love with authors like Krakauer and Pierce who wrote books on real, chaotic events that have inspired many. For example, Krakauer writes about mountain climbing experiences and experiences in the snow while Pierce wrote about a plane crash in the Andes where the survivors struggled to make it back home. After being fascinated by the way these authors wrote about tragic events that always left me in suspense I thought The Perfect Storm would be th...more
Jul 08, 2007 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't mind being depressed and are interested in MA and maritime history
This was pretty good and read really quickly, especially toward the end. The quite drawn-out description of what it's like to drown was terrifying, as well as the description of what the ocean is like in a storm like that. I'm scared of the ocean so I found it oddly fascinating in a horrific way. I also thought that the very real importance of dreams and premonitions was described in the book--crewmen would get a "bad feeling" about going out with a boat and family members would dream about love...more
I had heard that this book was good but I thought it was sort of boring. I don't know anything about boating and I think you have to have some boating knowledge before reading this book. There are pages and pages of descriptions about what a swordfishing boat looks like, using words I had never even heard of! It would have been helpful if there was a diagram of the boat, just as there was a map of the Atlantic at the beginning of the book that was a great reference. What I did like about the boo...more
Junger’s book, The Perfect Storm, documents the storm and the disappearance of a sword fishing boat, The Andrea Gail, which took place off of the Massachusetts coast in the early 1990s. The Andrea Gail set out several days prior to the storm beginning and was having very bad luck finding swordfish. The captain of the boat, Billy Tyne, refused to return home empty handed and so he decided to sail farther out to sea in order to find the swordfish. After completing a successful swordfish run, Tyne...more
I had mixed feelings about this book, but I would recommend it to just about anyone. The history and dangers of commercial fishing off the treacherous waters of New England/the north Atlantic are well expounded; full of fascinating facts and anecdotes. But Junger was faced with a fundamental problem with this book that I'm not sure he was able to overcome satisfactorily: and that's that he spends a good deal of time getting us intimate with a large cast of characters--the fishermen and loved one...more
This book whose title added another phrase to our lexicon is classic non-fiction: a collection of unrelated true stories, interwoven with essays examining everything from ocean rescues, to deadly occupations, to the line-fishing industry, to weather patterns of the Atlantic Ocean. Where the movie cuts most of this and focuses on the ill-fated vessel at the center of the storm, the book does what books do so well---it explores the issues and colors in the background, never forgetting to keep buil...more
Keith Bowden
I absolutely hated this book. It's just over 200 pages but it took me more than three weeks to force myself to complete it; I hated the author's style so much that whenever I could bring myself to read a few pages, I started looking for something to distract me.

Beyond stylistic preferences, I had problems with its structure. First off, it was entirely written in the present tense, making it sound like a sports play-by-play commentary. This is a very clumsy approach; the only thing worse is writi...more
If you are someone who loves to read fact after fact, tons of boat history, and a book that has at least five different perspectives that the story is told in, in the first 20 pages, then this is the book for you.

"The Perfect Storm" Starts with Bobby and his girlfriend, Christian, sleeping. They wake up, and they round up their gang. Then they all head to a bar. Bobby and his friends drink and drink, and drink some more. Afterward, everyone in the group, not including Christian, go to the sword...more
I saw the trailer to the film adaptation of this and immediately had to find the book. I bought it one day before a train journey and started it as soon as I sat down. All I can say is that I rode the length of the line back and forth for most of the day until I had finished the book. It was one of the most dramatic, interesting and powerful books I had ever read.

I still reread "storm" every couple of years as its power rarely diminishes. This is a wonderful book expertly executed. The balance b...more
Larry Bassett
After I read War , I wanted to read something else by this author Sebastian Junger. I am surprised that he wasn’t out on the boat during the storm! He likes to be where the action is. Crazy man. Good writer.

Since a well known movie was made from this book in 2000, many readers will know roughly what happens before they start the book. That creates an interesting dynamic for the reader. (view spoiler)...more
Ann Amadori
I read this book because I had read 3 by Linda Greenlaw, a fisherman who, at the time of this storm was captain of the Hannah Boden, sister boat to the Andrea Gail which was lost in the storm. She is mentioned numerous times in the book and was portrayed in the movie, The Perfect Storm, by Mary Stuart Masterson. I am intrigued by her lifestyle and thought it would be interesting to learn more about the people who fish hundreds of miles offshore - it takes a week to get to the Outer Banks off New...more
Michael Poor
What would you do if you went to work one day and were thrust into a hell beyond imagining? What would you do if you had little to no hope of coming through that day alive?

This possibility is surely branded in the psyches of anyone who makes his or her living from the sea, where dangers — both human-made and natural — lurk literally at all deceptively serene points of the compass. But you go on because you have to — because it's what puts food on your table, and because there's always the chance...more
After turning the last page of this book I had to take a deep breath and stretch my tense muscles. Moments ago I was in the cold ocean with a handful of men. I was with a little boy missing his father. I was dreaming about a lover lost at sea. This book takes the reader with it. It's a book you experience rather than read.
I think anyone who has ever made a Coast Guard joke should read this book. Just saying.

Part nature book, part adventure, part tragedy, part fish - the book is a pretty good much. It is somewhat slow to start, but when it does take off, it takes off.
ravioli panic
i read this after "into thin air" and other than the fact that people died, which is clearly sad, i thought this was a real snooze. i guess my fondness for books about outdoor crap only extends so far :(
A compelling read. The true tale of the long-line swordfish vessel Andrea Gail and her crew of seven out of Gloucester, Massachusetts who were lost to perhaps the most vicious storm the elements of the north Atlantic have generated in recorded history.

Sebastian Junger interweaves the account with know facts of the crews encounter with the raging storm, necessary and well reasoned speculation to fill the gaps, along with a very accessible explanation of the dynamic natural forces that combined to...more
Jason Taylor
I really liked this book. It's a book that will have you in suspense the entire time you're reading it! It is also very dramatically sad and eventful, though. The crew of the Andrea Gail goes out to sea on the Atlantic Ocean for a fishing trip, look for some beautiful Sword Fish. This was an actually job, not just a bunch of buddies going out on a fishing trip for a couple of days. This was a real crew who went out for weeks and weeks at a time. And, to make it even more "fishy", it is written a...more
I enjoyed the movie (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane), and found it to be an incredible story, but like most true stories, if you want more of the fact you have to read the book.

Sebastian Junger does an excellent job of telling this story and since nobody knows for sure, what happened in the last moments on the Andrea Gail, he fills this in with the best possible information, by interviewing others that have faced similar conditions so that in reading it, you understand just what the c...more
So, I'll admit, I watched the movie first, and it had me really excited to read the book––which I had to for school, but...I got my hopes up.
It was almost painful to get through this and, at times, I really wanted to just throw it at a wall, or tear it page by page. It never really went anywhere, at least not for me. Junger just went on and on...and on about the evolution of fishing, the history of other storms and how they impacted its victims, how fishing is a dangerous occupation, how it's cr...more
Jo Danilo
I live by the sea now - well, ten minutes away - and so this book really struck a chord with me when it wouldn't have a couple of years ago. Watching the sea during wild weather, you can't help but be absolutely blown away by just how vast and unforgiving it is. A truly mighty force of nature.

The Perfect Storm takes a while to tell it's tale, but it's interwoven with astonishing facts about the sea, how ships are built, how fishermen cope with being on the water for months at a time with the ev...more
In the late summer of 1991, my husband and I were unloading fish on the docks in Fairhaven, Massachussets right next to the Andrea Gail. Our company boat, The Mary T, fished alongside the Andrea Gail on the Grand Banks on that final trip of the season in October. It was the Mary T that saw the only remains of the Andrea Gail, a small bit of floating debris, as they steamed back towards Fairhaven after the storm blew off. I will never forget the moment when we tied her to the dock, and the co-cap...more
Disappointing book. This account of a true story has so much potential, but it reads like it was written by a meteorologist who has had some nautical training. Junger often writes in the subjunctive, which confused me as to whether or not the events he describes actually happened, or if he is just describing the worst-case scenario. It reminds me of a cross between a history text book and a novel (with the emphasis on the former), as if Junger can't decide which genre to use. The characters are...more
The Perfect Storm has been sitting on my school bookshelves for a couple of years now. Every so often, as I'm organizing the shelves, I think 'I ought to read this sometime' and then I don't. Well, I finally did and I'm glad of it.

It took me a while to make it through the book. The author did a great job of packing in a lot of information. I learned so much about the sea, naval law, sea rescues, storms, meteorology, the history of deep sea fishing, and.... Well, a lot of stuff! At times it was o...more
Jan C
I like a good disaster story. I have some knowledge of sailboats and boating but no knowledge really of professional fishermen.

I found the Andrea Gail part of the story fascinating. What it might be like in those last moments when a boat is being hit with either a rogue wave or the sisters.

But the people who were on the water, like those two girls, who had no idea of what they were doing, had no business being there. They lied about their experience to get a trip to Bermuda not knowing that the...more
A lot of publicity surrounded this book and its following movie (the book is *much* better, trust me) but I waited for several years before picking it up to let all the gossip subside. Unlike many books that the media seems to salivate over, I believe this one deserved the attention. It centers on the story of the fishing vessel Andrea Gail but does not limit the scope to that vessel alone. Junger built a collection of fascinating facts and stories around that central premise to better help the...more
Reading this book was more painful than watching George Clooney try to do a Gloucester accent in the movie. Whenever Junger wrote about the people involved it seemed that he was writing from a point of view that was better than those he was writing about. He could write about the storm but the humanity involved came off flat. Plus, the ending was terrible and ended rather abruptly with a completely different storm.

I felt that compared to some other non-fiction I have read this just did not stac...more
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Review 1 5 Jun 28, 2014 08:37AM  
The Perfect Storm 14 83 Feb 12, 2014 09:13PM  
Books are my life...: The Perfect Storm 14 11 Apr 28, 2013 05:50AM  
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Sebastian Junger is an American author and journalist. He graduated from Concord Academy in 1980 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in cultural anthropology in 1984. He received a National Magazine Award in 2000 for "The Forensics of War," published in Vanity Fair in 1999. In 1997, with the publication of his work, The Perfect Storm, he was touted as the new Hemingway,...more
More about Sebastian Junger...
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“How do men act on a sinking ship? Do they hold each other? Do they pass around the whisky? Do they cry?” 15 likes
“There are houses in Gloucester where grooves have been worn into the floorboards by women pacing past an upstairs window, looking out to sea.” 2 likes
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